The association has so far spent about $20,000 this year cleaning up graffiti in the area, said executive director Christine Leadman. Typically, the cost is around $10,000.
“It’s unfortunate as it’s a sheer waste of money,” Ms. Leadman said, clarifying that the frustration is in spending more money just to keep the buildings clean.
The BIA has 300 members who pay association fees that cover various services, including graffiti removal. Fees vary according to the property size of a business, but a typical Glebe business might spend $400 to $500 annually, she said. Larger office buildings pay well into the thousands of dollars every year.
Those fees bring the members services such as graffiti removal, but the increase in graffiti is making that service more difficult, Ms. Leadman added.
Taggers will often leave their mark on the second storey of a building to get more visibility from the street, which adds costs to the removal. Worker safety also needs to be considered in such a situation, adding time and money.
According to a municipal bylaw, property owners must remove graffiti from their buildings within a week after receiving notice from city officials. In cases where property owners fail to remove the graffiti themselves, the city can hire contractors and tack the cost onto the property owners’ municipal tax bill.
Ms. Leadman said she’s even had bylaw officers ask to have graffiti removed in the winter, which is often impossible due to paint freezing in low temperatures, but added that most officials are reasonable when this is explained to them.
The BIA will likely change its budget line for graffiti next year to accommodate the increase, but Ms. Leadman said she couldn’t say yet if members would pay more for the service. That decision will be up to the board.
She added that graffiti is not a unique problem to the Glebe, but wherever it appears, it must be addressed.
“There is a negative connotation that comes with it. We want to distill that look and clean the business areas.”